From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome to our new chapter year! We have a lot going on this month as we kick off our new year, and I’m here to give you a sneak preview of what’s to come.

To start, this month, we are partnering with the wonderful folks of the North Texas Lone Star Chapter to hold our first joint chapter meeting! For more information or to RSVP, read on or visit the RSVP page.

Next, I’d like to welcome a new writer to MtM, Bernard King, as he provides his takeaways from the 2019 leadership retreat held earlier this month.

And last, but certainly not least, Florida Chapter Treasurer W.C. Wiese shares how you can earn a coveted Florida Chapter active member shirt as well as a contest to win an awesome STC-related prize (I want to win it x1000). Read on to learn more!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Lightning Talk: Tech Writing Skills in Nontraditional Fields

Emily Wells

By: Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Florida Chapter, STC

A first for our chapter, this month, we are partnering with the North Texas Lone Star Chapter to join their live meeting Lightning Talk: Tech Writing Skills in Nontraditional Fields virtually. We will have three speakers who are professionals with a background in technical writing that are currently in job roles unrelated to tech writing. This is to encourage tech writers to look at careers and jobs with titles that are not strictly “tech writer” or “technical communicator.”

So what’s a lightning talk, you ask? A lightning talk is a very short presentation lasting only a few minutes. Several lightning talks will usually be delivered by different speakers in a single session.

Our three speakers will share how their tech writing experiences prepared them for their careers, and what advice they have for someone looking to join their career field from a tech writing background. There will be plenty of time for Q&A, so bring your questions and come meet these amazing professionals and learn about new career opportunities.

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Lightning talk, presentations, and Q&A.

Please RSVP using this link.

About the Presenters:

Maurice Moss – Product Manager at Axxess

Laurel Beason – Lecturer and Director of Corporate Relations at Univ. of North TX

Kyle Rollins – Technical Writer/Scrum Master

2019 Leadership Retreat Recap

By: Bernard King
Member
Florida Chapter, STC

The STC Florida Chapter Leadership Retreat, held on August 10, 2019, was my first time attending an STC event in-person. My goals for attending the meeting were to engage with the members of the Florida chapter, as well as gain a better understanding as to what was expected of me as a member and how meeting these expectations could benefit my career as an up-and-coming Technical Communicator.

Alex Garcia opened the meeting by focusing on attendee introductions, expectations for the meeting, and distribution of active member awards and t-shirts. I found this part of the meeting to be the most inspiring. Those attendees who were recognized seemed very proud of their contributions to both the organization and the technical communication industry as a whole.

The subject then shifted to the importance of the 2019-2020 volunteer initiative and how the encouragement of active participation is vital to STC’s overall goal of encouraging professional training and development. Karen Lane explained how tasks are offered to members based on experience. It was revealed that there are various short-term and long-term positions within the organization that are yet to be filled, several of which various members volunteered for. This inspired me to contribute this article to Memo to Members.

The next part of the meeting addressed the mentoring program and the benefits of being an STC student member. Among the subjects discussed were the decline in physical meetings due to increased online student enrollment, the increased cost of student membership, the mentorship program, and various scholarship programs. Also discussed were possible methods of reaching out to high school students interested in careers in the field of technical communication.

The meeting shifted its focus to the importance of preserving the Chapter’s history. I was surprised to find out that only one STC chapter has a detailed archive. Dan Voss put forth an idea to have a chapter history page on the STC Florida website. Dan pointed out that the research being conducted for this chapter history could result in the most detailed history archive of any chapter as well as potential Pacesetter Recognition.

The retreat then wrapped after a brief discussion on future meetings and programs for the 2019-2020 year. Many different topics were discussed and voted on. Among them were programs focusing on document design, project management, help guides, and job hunting.

After the meeting had adjourned, I walked away assured that volunteering for this organization would yield results that will provide a promising start to my career.

Will You Earn a 2020 Active Member Shirt? Here’s How!

By: W.C. Wiese
Treasurer
Florida Chapter, STC

Want to stand out in our profession? Want to show the boss you’re serious about your job? This’ll do it.

Another chapter year, another distinctive Active Member shirt for helping to make the  Florida Chapter successful!

For almost 20 years, the Florida Chapter has recognized and rewarded the members who are essential to our chapter’s success with unique active member shirts. Our distinctive leadership shirts aren’t sold, only earned. They set our membership apart at meetings, STC conferences, and in the workplace. In fact, after years of envy, several other chapters have contacted us and started their own active membership programs.

The shirts let members celebrate chapter pride whenever they wear them at work. It sends a positive message to employers, clients, and co-workers:  I am committed to technical communication and self-development. I am a member of STC!

Now that our chapter meetings are regularly networked statewide, recent changes to the active membership program ensure that virtual attendees aren’t overlooked and that multiple contributions to the chapter’s publicity efforts are credited. As the table shows, members earn points for every monthly meeting attended, whenever they put on a program, attend an Administrative Council (AdCo) meeting, or serve as a judge, mentor, or chairman/officer. Another great way to earn points is by helping Communications Chair Emily Wells with articles, photography, and production of Memo to Members.

Based on past campaigns, the most active 15 percent of our membership ordinarily receive shirts. So we’ll see you at the next meeting!

Jumpstart Your Active Membership by Winning Our New Member Campaign!

By: W.C. Wiese
Treasurer
Florida Chapter, STC

An often-overlooked active membership opportunity is sponsoring a new member! The Florida Chapter is always looking to grow and needs your help. That’s why our active membership program awards two points for each new chapter member you sponsor.

It’s not hard to do. Do you have a co-worker who needs a nudge? Bring them with you to the next meeting or participate together online – just help them act on that frequent desire to see what STC is all about and help them appreciate the professional growth they’ve been missing. When they join STC and become a chapter member, you get points for having been their contact and host.

Talk about feeling good! You’ll feel really good about yourself, you’ll get two Active Member points for each new member, and you’ll maybe win a contest. Sponsor the most new members by the end of 2019, and you’ll be the winner of a great pair of technical communication socks from the 2018 STC Summit.

The well-dressed active member doesn’t stop with a Florida Chapter shirt. Add these limited-edition STC socks if you’re our new member campaign winner!

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

You may have noticed the new MtM banner at the beginning of this month’s newsletter. That’s because, after 4 years of abstaining from  STC’s annual Community Achievement Awards (CAA) evaluation, our chapter decided to jump back in and “Go for Gold.”

However, due to the hard work of numerous chapter members (especially the head of all the madness, Crystal Brezina), we surpassed our Gold goal and earned the highest award, the Platinum Award. Along with the Platinum award, we also received our chapter’s third Pacesetter Award for our innovative Leadership Development Program (LDP).

This monumental achievement is just one of the many achievements we plan to celebrate at this month’s meeting, our annual Spotlight Awards & Elections. Read on to learn more about the meeting, or visit our Meetup page.

Along with celebrating all our year-end achievements, I have another exciting development to share: a new column called Looking Back, Looking Forward by Chapter Historian/STC Fellow Mike Murray and STC Fellow Dan Voss! Read on to learn more about this new column in its inaugural article.

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

STC Florida’s Annual Spotlight Awards & Elections

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Acting President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

This will be my final article for the 2018–2019 chapter year as the Florida Chapter’s Acting President (formerly our Vice President).

On Thursday, June 20th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, STC Florida will host our annual awards ceremony. We will also hold our annual elections and install our new Administrative Council for 2019–2020. (Fun fact: I will literally be passing a gavel and giant hat to the new Chapter President!)

As with many of our initiatives this year—our first full term carrying the mantle of Florida Chapter—this ceremony will mark some notable firsts in STC Florida’s 41-year-long history:

  • This will be our first awards ceremony that supports virtual attendance! We’d love for everyone to be able to join us onsite at the Chuy’s restaurant on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando. However, we’ve also interacted with many great folks from far outside the Central Florida area, and we’re committed to properly recognizing their efforts from this moment on.
  • On that note, we’re rebranding this year’s ceremony to The Spotlight Awards! This namesake is a first. In addition to the many honors we traditionally bestow (such as the President’s Award, Active Member shirts, and congratulatory certificates), we’ll also be unveiling a new award called the Spotlight Award. The purpose of this award is to honor someone’s extraordinary efforts that have not been fully in the public consciousness. I believe this objective will grow in importance with each passing year as we continue to connect with technical communicators throughout Florida and beyond.
  • Another (potential) first: We’ll be raffling off a limited-edition STC Florida cap! Any chapter member in virtual or physical attendance will be eligible to win.

A glimpse of the illustrious hat and gavel passed down from Florida Chapter President to Florida Chapter President…and a sneak peek at the chapter cap being given away.

Naturally, STC Florida’s Annual Spotlight Awards & Elections is free to attend. We only ask that those attending in-person please purchase some food/beverages to support the restaurant that is hosting us. Guests are absolutely welcome; please include them in your RSVP count. I hope you can join us either virtually or in-person for this Thursday’s celebratory event—and perhaps win a chapter cap in the process!

Please RSVP here for the event!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray
STC Fellows
Florida Chapter, STC

History has an uncanny way of repeating itself.

Welcome to Looking Back, Looking Forward, a new column that will appear periodically in Memo to Members. This column will showcase landmark articles and other documents generated by members of the STC Florida Chapter over our community’s storied 41-year history.

Fear not, younger members—this is not going to be an eye-glazingly soporific forced march down Nostalgia Lane by tribal elders pontificating from our creaking rocking chairs.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

As chapter historian, Mike Murray has been sifting through hundreds of documents and organizing them into a coherent archive of the chapter’s history. In the process, he has unearthed a treasure trove of materials that remain remarkably relevant today.

We plan to exhume some of these gems from the chapter crypt, dust off the cobwebs, and take another look at them decades later.

So here we go.

We are launching the new column with an article Mike wrote for Memo to Members back in 2003—the year our community won the first of what would be an unprecedented and never equaled nine Community of Distinction Awards in STC’s annual Community Achievement Awards (CAA) evaluation. The article is entitled “The Road to Distinction.”

What could possibly be more apropos as we celebrate the chapter’s first award in the Society’s new CAA structure, which replaces the historical Merit-Excellence-Distinction progression with a Bronze-Silver-Gold-Platinum sequence?

Having abstained from the CAA process for the past 4 years for reasons beyond our control that we will not go into here, in reentering it we were hoping to come home with a Gold Award—the equivalent of the nine Chapter of Distinction Awards we won in the past.

But no—we went straight to the top, landing the coveted, hard-to-achieve Platinum Award, which was presented to former chapter president, now STC Board of Director member, Bethany Aguad, at STC’s 66th annual International Conference (Summit) in Denver at Leadership Day on May 5.  On top of that, we also brought home our chapter’s third Pacesetter Award for our innovative Leadership Development Program (LDP) that grooms future chapter and Society leaders.

As you read “The Road to Distinction” from 2003, we believe you will be amazed at how easily this could be “The Path to Platinum.”

The key is an unflagging Commitment to Excellence that has characterized our STC community since its inception in 1978. Excellence is, and always has been, one of our chapter’s core values. It’s in our DNA.

So, we tribal elders who paved the Road to Distinction 16 years ago take off our hats to the young leaders who have carried on our community’s Commitment to Excellence on the Path to Platinum.

Without further ado, then, here is Mike Murray’s eerily familiar “The Road to Distinction,” freshly disinterred from the archival crypt.

Déjà vu!

We think you will agree—in this case history has, indeed, repeated itself!

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

As we come upon the end of our 2018-19 chapter year, the Florida chapter has an exciting educational program for you. I won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say, I’m very excited for this presentation. Read on to learn more about our May meeting or visit our Meetup page.

In addition to introducing our exciting meeting for this month, Acting President Nick Ducharme also recaps two chapter firsts: a ground-breaking fully virtual meeting and a successful half-day workshop!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org